More train strikes including Grand Final day

A Northern train
A Northern train

Train passengers in Wigan will face more rail strikes throughout October - with disruption set to include the day of the Super League Grand Final.


Northern employees will down tools on three Saturdays next month including October 13, the day of rugby league's showpiece occasion at Old Trafford.

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The further industrial action has been called by the RMT union after talks with arbitration service Acas collapsed.

That led to Northern accusing the trade union of moving the goalposts.

It had been hoped that the discussions would allow progress to be made after more than a year of bitter disputes between the union and train operator over driver-only operations and retaining guards on services.

The October walk-outs will follow a rolling series of strikes at the weekend which are taking place throughout this month.

The union has also promised a new high-profile campaign aimed at residents and politicians to rally support for its cause.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "This dispute, and the further industrial action we have announced today, would have been entirely preventable if the company had listened to the union's deep-seated safety concerns, had taken them seriously, stuck to their earlier commitments and had put passenger safety before profit.

“In spite of the collapse of this week’s talks at Acas, RMT will not be deterred in its efforts and will continue to campaign both industrially and politically to ensure passengers using Arriva Rail North train services are afforded the respect they deserve and are provided with a continued and guaranteed safe, secure and accessible railway.

“The company’s intransigence has forced our hand and given us no option but to announce this latest phase of industrial action. The disruption to services will be entirely down to Arriva Rail North and their pig-headed attitude.

"RMT remains available for genuine and meaningful talks around the guard guarantee and we await a response from the company to that offer.

"We thank the travelling public for their continuing understanding and support throughout this dispute which is all about their safety and security.”

The 24-hour strikes will take place on Saturday October 6, Saturday October 13 and Saturday October 20.

Northern has hit back at the prospect of yet more disruption to local travellers.

Deputy managing director Richard Allan said: “Northern invited RMT to Acas talks and agreed to discuss the three options RMT had suggested beforehand on the role of the on-board member of staff. Northern was prepared to talk about the RMT's options.

"However, RMT unilaterally changed the basis of what they were prepared to talk about. This is despite the fact that they have reached agreements on similar terms elsewhere in the industry.

"RMT then called yet more strike action which will only cause further unnecessary difficulty for customers. Northern remains ready to talk about the options and calls on RMT to cancel strike action and return to the talks.

"Northern is getting on with the important job of modernising local rail for customers with new trains, better stations and more services. It remains willing to involve RMT in that positive future for colleagues and customers. But progress can only be achieved through talking."